Zimbabwe’s Mighty Warriors are starring history in the face when they enter the pitch of Rufaro Stadium Sunday.
This is probably their biggest assignment since 1980 when Zimbabwe was admitted to international sport.
The Mighty Warriors face the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon in a 2016 Olympic Games qualifier that will decide whether or not the Zimbabweans qualify for the finals in Rio de Janeiro.
Should they qualify, the Mighty Warriors will become only the second team since the golden hockey girls of 1980 to participate at the global sporting gathering. In fact, the Mighty Warriors will become the only team to qualify for the Olympic Games as the hockey side did not take part in the qualifiers but went to Moscow by invitation after some countries boycotted the Games.
Having lost the first leg 2-1 in Yaounde, the Mighty Warriors only need a 1-0 win to qualify for the sporting extravaganza on the away goals rule.
A member of the Warriors Fan Club Zivanai Muroyiwa says he cannot wait for Sunday for him to celebrate a historic occasion.
Mighty Warriors follower Chipo Nyangoro says there is nothing that will stop the Zimbabwean team from winning and qualifying for the global sporting festival.
The onus to do the job, however, is in the hands of coach Shadreck Mhlauzi and his girls.
Mhlauzi has built a team of youth and experience and having learnt the lessons of that narrow defeat in Yaounde says he has adopted new tactics for the home match.
Rudo Neshamba and Rutendo Machingura will lead Mhlauzi’s quest for goals but the coach is also aware of not leaving his rearguard open for the Lionesses to capitalize.
He says he has also been working on his defense after they let in two silly goals away from home where they had taken an early lead.
The Zimbabwe Football Association have seen the importance of a 12th man and are charging a modest $1.00 to attract a full house to Rufaro Stadium. The wings are going for $3.00 while the VIP stand is going for only $5.00
With such modest gate charges, Rufaro Stadium should be full to the brim as the nation rallies behind the Mighty Warriors.
At the same time, the Warriors are also at Barbourfields Stadium but for the less important Africa Nations Championship qualifier against the Crocodiles of Lesotho.
Coach Kalisto Pasuwa has axed Hardlife Zvirekwi and Justice Jangano of Caps United as well as Ronald Chitiyo of Dynamos from camp for indiscipline.
Having been knocked out of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers by the Comoros which Zimbabwe knocked out in the Chan tournament not much resistance is expected from the Crocodiles.
Zimbabwe are bidding to qualify for the Africa Nations Championships for the fourth time in a row having made the journey in 2009, 2012, and 2014.
The focus of attention, however, is on the Mighty Warriors.